Baltimore Art News: Baltimore Book Festival, Rubell Museum, Women’s Museum Reopens in DC

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This week’s news includes: Christina Delgado and Tola’s Room, two new exhibitions at the Rubell Museum, Baltimore Fine Art Print Fair postponed from 2024 to 2025, National Museum of Women in the Arts reopens, Baltimore Book Festival returns, Maryland Film Fest is back, Ongoing Artscape exhibitions, Ghost Stories with Wright Way Studios, Common Ground worker-owned co-op opens, and the National Aquarium and Pratt Library partner for Read to Reef, and more reporting from Baltimore Fishbowl, Baltimore Banner, Baltimore Magazine, and other local and independent news sources.

Header Image: Installation view of a work by Beatriz Milhazes at the National Museum of Women in the Arts; Photo by Jennifer Hughes, courtesy of NMWA



Waverly's National Historic Main Street District sign. Photo by Ed Gunts.

‘A no-brainer’: City Council member Odette Ramos says she’s excited about the Baltimore Book Festival moving to Waverly
by Ed Gunts
Published September 28 in Baltimore Fishbowl

Excerpt: Baltimore City Council member Odette Ramos said she’s excited that the Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts (BOPA) honored her request to move the Baltimore Book Festival to Waverly, an area she represents.

Ramos said in an email message on Wednesday that she just received confirmation that BOPA plans to hold the next Baltimore Book Festival in Waverly, which boasts a concentration of independent book stores, after a four-year hiatus. She said planners are “looking at” the third weekend in May 2024, “but the dates are not yet confirmed.”

At least one commenter, a Baltimore bookstore manager, said on Instagram Wednesday that she wasn’t aware of plans for the 2024 book festival. “This is interesting because the involved businesses know nothing about it!” she said in response to a Baltimore Fishbowl article about the festival. “Might need a fact check.”



Mickalene Thomas Baby I Am Ready Now, 2007 acrylic, rhinestone and enamel on panel diptych, overall 72 x 132 in. (182.9 x 335.3 cm) Courtesy Rubell Museum

Rubell Museum DC to Present Two New Exhibitions Opening Nov. 2nd
Press Release :: October 2

The Rubell Museum DC announced today that it will open two new exhibitions as part of a museum-wide reinstallation on November 2nd. Singular Views: 25 Artists highlights the work of 25 contemporary artists from across the U.S. and around the world through solo presentations. Opening concurrently is Alexandre Diop: Jooba Jubba, l’Art du Defi, the Art of Challenge, featuring work created by the artist during his 2022 residency at the Rubell Museum. Both exhibitions are on view through October 2024.

Singular Views and Alexandre Diop encompass the second installation at the Rubell Museum DC, which opened last fall in the 1906 building of the former Randall Junior High School in Southwest DC. The two exhibitions extend throughout the museum’s 32,000 square feet, which preserves the original layout of the historic school, with classrooms, teacher’s offices, the auditorium, and foyers transformed into galleries, thereby reinforcing the role of artists as teachers and storytellers. The exhibitions have been conceived to promote public dialogue and serve as a space for audiences to engage with the work of leading contemporary artists, and coincide with the release of a comprehensive, 288-page hardcover catalogue of the Rubells’ collection titled Collection Highlights and Artist Writings.

“In selecting works for this museum-wide installation, our goal continues to be to both showcase artists whose work engages with the most pressing ideas and issues of today and to introduce artists that audiences may not have previously encountered within the DC cultural landscape,” said Mera Rubell. “We now make the choice to display each artist’s work as a focused solo exhibition to highlight their individual perspectives and allow audiences to understand the full extent of the artist’s practice.”

Singular Views comprises solo presentations by: Patricia Ayres, Amoako Boafo, Emmanuel Louisnord Desir, Jenny Holzer, Jonathan Horowitz, Matthew Day Jackson, February James, Murjoni Merriweather, John Miller,  Jesse Mockrin, Simphiwe Ndzube, Raymond Pettibon, Paul Pfeiffer, Otis Kwame Kye Quaicoe, Rozeal, Jennifer Rubell, Clayton Schiff, Sylvia Snowden, Tomoaki Suzuki, Hank Willis Thomas, Mickalene Thomas, Tesfaye Urgessa, John Waters, Cajsa von Zeipel, and Allison Zuckerman.



National Museum of Women in the Arts renovation project: Great Hall; Rendering by Sandra Vicchio & Associates, LLC, with Marshall Craft Associates, Inc.

Celebrate Free Reopening Weekend October 21–22, 2023, at National Museum of Women in the Arts After Transformative Renovation
Press Release :: September 29

The National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) celebrates its grand reopening weekend on Saturday, October 21, and Sunday, October 22, 2023,with a full day of festivities for all ages on Saturday and free admission throughout the weekend. Planned activities include art-making, interactive entertainment, live performances and spotlight conversations on special exhibitions and newly renovated areas. To attend opening weekend, free timed tickets are required and available now. Tickets for admission throughout the fall are also on sale.

The celebratory weekend marks the first time the museum has been open since August 2021, when it launched a top-to-bottom renovation. The million project, designed by Baltimore-based architectural firm Sandra Vicchio & Associates, features more gallery space and increased accessibility. In addition, a new Learning Commons encompasses an exhibition gallery, Library and Research Center with a reading room open to the public, and a flexible studio/classroom.

The schedule of activities for reopening day on Saturday, October 21, is as follows:

Saturday, October 21, throughout the day, 11 a.m.–5 p.m.

  • Flash Tattooing: Memorialize your visit and commitment to women artists with a flash tattoo! Tattoo artist Bibi Abelle draws inspiration from the museum’s collection to craft her masterpieces right in front of you—and on you. Registration and waiver to be completed on site. Estimated cost for a tattoo will be $150.Seeking a less permanent tribute? Enjoy a complimentary temporary tattoo inspired by artworks and artists in NMWA’s collection.
  • Photo booths: Come dressed as your favorite NMWA artwork or artist and capture the stylish moment in a photo booth. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to make art come alive. Keep the conversation going by sharing your photos and tag @WomenInTheArts and #NMWAnow.
  • Typewriter Poetry: Interact with the brilliant minds of the Ars Poetica team and take home your own personalized poem. Make a request and watch as talented women poets bring your words to life using vintage typewriters.
  • Sketching: Get a free NMWA-branded sketchbook filled with imaginative prompts to encourage close looking, drawing, writing and playing in the galleries.
  • Button-Making: Make a wearable button adorned with designs inspired by the museum and its collection.
  • Postcard-Writing: Grab a postcard custom designed by artist Amy Wike, highlighting the museum’s one-of-a-kind architecture. Share memories of your visit and the museum will mail the card on your behalf.
  • Tastings: Indulge in a delectable journey through the offerings of women-owned businesses right here in the heart of Washington, D.C. Sample cocktails, mocktails and scrumptious snacks, including dumplings, empanadas, chocolate and more. Food and beverages will also be available for purchase.
  • Spotlight Conversations: Discover some of NMWA’s featured artworks and artists during bite-sized conversations with NMWA staff throughout the day.

11 a.m.–1:30 p.m. Les the DJ: With a mix of pop, indie and underground hits, Les the DJ creates a freeform fusion that’ll have everyone dancing to the beats of soul, funk, boogie, disco and old-school hip-hop.

11 a.m.–2 p.m. Balloon Twister: Balloon artists from Balloon Twister create playful, museum-inspired sculptures (and souvenirs).

2–4:40 p.m. BOOMscat: Featuring soul, electronic vibes and hip-hop grooves, BOOMscat provides an electrifying live performance.

4:40–5 p.m. Batalá Washington: This all-female percussion band wraps up the day’s celebration with Afro-Brazilian beats and rhythms.

The grand reopening weekend is generously underwritten by Bank of America.

NMWA also has a full slate of programming throughout the fall, including Free Community Days on the first Sunday and second Wednesday of each month.

  • National Museum of Women in the Arts: NMWA is the first museum in the world solely dedicated to championing women through the arts. With its collections, exhibitions, programs and online content, the museum inspires dynamic exchanges about art and ideas. NMWA advocates for better representation of women artists and serves as a vital center for thought leadership, community engagement and social change. NMWA addresses the gender imbalance in the presentation of art by bringing to light important women artists of the past while promoting great women artists working today. The collection highlights a wide range of works in a variety of mediums by artists including Rosa Bonheur, Louise Bourgeois, Lalla Essaydi, Lavinia Fontana, Frida Kahlo, Hung Liu, Zanele Muholi, Faith Ringgold, Niki de Saint Phalle and Amy Sherald.

The museum building is currently closed for a major renovation, reopening on October 21. Visit for more information about the building project and for details about inaugural exhibitions. For information, call 202-783-5000, visit nmwa.orgBroad Strokes blog, Facebook or Instagram.



Christina Delgado with the christening dresses on display in the basement of her museum. —Photography by Grace Hebron

How Curating Tola’s Room Helped Christina Delgado Better Understand Her Own Heritage
by Grace Hebron
Published October 2 in Baltimore Magazine

Excerpt: Flaunting long, feathered earrings, her silvering hair tucked in a high bun, Christina Delgado relaxes on a green loveseat encircled by family mementos. Funky music blares and the smell of incense lingers.

“That’s my mom when she was in the military,” says the native New Yorker, artist, educator, and cultural worker, pointing to a portrait on the purple wall behind us. “That’s my uncle Jerry, who was her favorite brother. Those are my parents when they first started dating. And that’s me and my mom.” She giggles, pointing to a white pullover sweatshirt with their smiling faces on it, which reads “Double Trouble.”

Adjacent to the living room—which houses literature on Baltimore’s Black and Puerto Rican roots—is a multimedia collage of photographs, framed artwork, Post-It notes, and religious keepsakes. Infographics offer guests a truncated overview of the influence of Puerto Rican culture throughout American history.



Baltimore Fine Art Print Fair is being rescheduled from 2024 to 2025
Press Release :: October 2

Fine Arts Baltimore announces it has made the decision to reschedule the third iteration of the Baltimore Fine Art Print Fair (BFAPF) in 2025.

Several factors have gone into the decision. Primarily, the art fair landscape has shifted rather dramatically with the IFPDA’s (International Fine Print Dealers Association) announcement that its legendary New York Print Fair is moving back to the Park Avenue Armory in February 2024. That means the IFPDA Print Fair will occur October 26-29, 2023, at the Javits Center and again, four months later, February 15-18, 2024, at the Park Avenue Armory. Further, the IFPDA Print Fair will move permanently to March the following year, 2025.

This major shift in the art fair calendar is offering the organizers of BFAPF the opportunity to expand its offerings and programs for 2025. This will place BFAPF in a stronger position moving forward.

The Baltimore Fine Art Print Fair takes place on the top floor of the Baltimore Innovation Center, 1100 Wicomico Street, in Baltimore’s Pigtown neighborhood. The oversize warehouse’s top floor boasts more than 40K square feet and offers opportunities to expand and grow BFAPF’s offerings.

A rather new endeavor, BFAPF has occurred twice so far, in spring 2022 and 2023, to much acclaim. A superb cadre of galleries, dealers, and print publishers presented the finest investment-quality, limited-edition fine art prints, multi-part portfolios, and artist books by the best of established and emerging artists. Visitors were welcomed and experienced conversations with the people who, in many cases, made the art, and the fair saw many people fall in love with their next acquisitions.

The Baltimore Fine Art Print Fair is a production of Fine Arts Baltimore LLC (FAB), a collaboration between Vonderburg Investments in Art LLC and Ann Shafer. The former is owned by Brian Miller and Julie Funderburk whose business, Full Circle Fine Art, is a pillar of Baltimore’s arts community. Ann Shafer is an independent curator who directed the Baltimore Museum of Art’s last three print fairs in 2012, 2015, and 2017. They have joined forces and are thrilled to bring this exciting event to Charm City.



The exterior of the Parkway Theatre. (Taneen Momeni)

Maryland Film Festival set to return in 2024 with new director
by Taji Burris
Published September 28 in The Baltimore Banner

Excerpt: After a year-long hiatus, Maryland Film Festival will return for its 25th anniversary with a new director of programming. The festival announced Thursday that KJ Mohr will take over the position and overlook all aspects of the event planned for May 2 through May 5, 2024.

“I am honored that MdFF has entrusted me with the task of curating this landmark festival,” Mohr said in a press release. “We are committed to showcasing the cinematic excellence that has become synonymous with MdFF, featuring star-studded premieres, hosting unique special events, and offering innovative experiences both within and outside the theater spaces.”

Mohr, who film chair Camille Blake Fall referred to as “a seasoned curator with deep experience” in the release, has worked with MdFF before, helping program previous iterations of the festival. Mohr has also held notable roles in numerous film festivals across the country, oversaw the film program at Creative Alliance, and is also an adjunct faculty member at Maryland Institute College of Art and George Mason University.



Nine Paintings by Wayne Hollowell depict John Waters characters, part of the Bmore Queer-Scape Gallery at 12 W. North Ave, open on Saturday. Photo by Ed Gunts.

Some Artscape 2023 exhibitors will be open this weekend, and beyond
by Ed Gunts
Published September 28 in Baltimore Fishbowl

Excerpt: Although Baltimore’s rain-shortened Artscape festival technically ended last Sunday, some of the artists and exhibitors that couldn’t be visited last Saturday due to inclement weather are getting another chance for exposure this weekend.

According to the Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts (BOPA) and the Central Baltimore Partnership, five exhibit spaces have been able to stay open past Sunday, when the three-day festival officially ended.

In some cases, the exhibitors were always planning to operate past Sunday. In other cases, exhibitors were able to make arrangements to stay open longer because of their locations within the Artscape footprint.



Wright Way Studios owner Steve Wright uses the mixing console in Studio A. (Kylie Cooper/The Baltimore Banner)

The origin tales and ghost stories of Wright Way Studios, a Baltimore recording institution
by Al Shipley
Published October 4 in The Baltimore Banner

Excerpt: “It’s not the biggest room in the world,” Steve Wright said as we walked into Studio A of Wright Way Studios, the Baltimore recording facility he’s run for over two decades. “But we can fit a 15-person orchestra in here.”

Sitting in Remington in the heart of the city, the studio has slowly grown since being built in the early ’90s. Hundreds of albums have been recorded here in just about every conceivable genre, including by a wide swath of local artists who helped shape the Baltimore music scene, but Wright has tended to shy away from doing press or boasting of accomplishments that might pigeonhole the space.

“Early on, I would say, ‘Hey look at what we did, look at what we did,’ and then I started noticing we were having problems,” he remembered. “People would be like, ‘Well, you’re the jazz studio, I can’t bring my rock project in there’ or ‘I don’t wanna bring my classical group in there because you don’t know how to do classical.” So the quality of the work has become Wright Way’s brand. “I want people to say ‘Oh, wow, they capture the artist, they figure out the sound of the artist, it sounds great, and it’s a high quality production.’”



Baltimore’s grand finale: A spectacular end to the summer season of arts and culture
by Ericka Alston Buck
Published October 1 in The AFRO

Excerpt: As the summer sun gradually yields to the crisp embrace of fall, Baltimore’s arts and culture scene bids adieu to the old and hello to a new season in an extravagant fashion. This year’s swan song included a trifecta of remarkable events: the UNCF Mayor’s Masked Ball, the premiere of the stage play “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill” at Baltimore Center Stage, and The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s 2023 Gala Celebration. Among the highlights was the presence of Tony Award-winning actor André De Shields, who had recently received the heartfelt honor of a street named in his honor.



Common Ground coffee shop’s worker-owner model is uncommonly grounded
by Aliza Worthington
Published September 29 in The Baltimore Banner

Excerpt: Common Ground, a local Hampden coffee spot which has had a tumultuous few months, had its soft open last week in its new iteration as a worker-owned cooperative.

The coffee shop celebrated its grand re-opening Sept. 18 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and its signature coffee and breakfast menu. The location and décor are much the same as when it abruptly closed in July with less than 24-hours’ notice from former owner, Michael Krupp. The business organizational structure, however, is vastly different.

Nic Koski, one of the baristas at the shop before it closed, and now one of the worker-owners of Common Ground explained the cooperative model.



Read To Reef Reading Program | Pratt LIbrary Highlandtown | October 7, 2017 Theresa Keil, National Aquarium Event Photographer

National Aquarium, Enoch Pratt Free Library Celebrate Return of Read to Reef
Press Release :: September 28

The National Aquarium, in partnership with the Enoch Pratt Free Library, is proud to announce the return of the Read to Reef book club for its Fall 2023 season. The award-winning program connects Baltimore children’s love of reading with the wonders of the aquatic world.

From October 1 through October 31, families of Baltimore-area children in fifth grade and younger can visit any Enoch Pratt Free Library location to get a Read to Reef bookmark using their library card while supplies last. After reading any five aquatic – or conservation-themed books – including books recommended on the Read to Reef booklist – the reader’s family can visit the Aquarium’s website and enter the code on their bookmark to make a reservation for free admission for up to four guests through January 15, 2024.

This season’s Read to Reef booklist, curated by both librarians and Aquarium educators, includes titles suitable for children of all reading levels – from children who have not yet learned to read to older students looking to dive deeper into the fascinating depths of our blue planet. From works that children can read by themselves to books that families can enjoy together, there is something for everyone on this season’s list.

Participants of this year’s Read to Reef book club will also have an opportunity to meet one of this year’s esteemed authors, Stephen Bramucci, to celebrate the release of “Race for the Ruby Turtle,” a heartfelt eco-adventure story brimming with themes of friendship and self-discovery. The program will be held at Enoch’s Govans Branch on Monday, October 16, at 3 p.m. The program will also include a presentation from the Aquarium’s Rehabilitation Manager Caitlin Bovery, who will speak about the Aquarium’s turtle rescue and rehabilitation efforts.

“We are excited to welcome back the Read to Reef book club this fall,” said National Aquarium Community Programs Manager Sarah Doccolo. “This program isn’t just about reading; it’s about sparking a sense of wonder in kids and their families. When families pick up a Read to Reef bookmark at the library and dive into aquatic adventures, they’re not just earning a trip to the National Aquarium but embarking on a journey of discovery together. It’s a chance to create lasting memories, inspire curiosity and nurture a love for our aquatic world through reading.”

With roughly 90,000 books read since the program’s launch in 2016, more than 16,000 Baltimore-area young readers and their families have visited the National Aquarium free of charge thanks to their participation in the Read to Reef book club.

“The Enoch Pratt Free Library and National Aquarium share the goal of instilling a love of learning in young people. Read to Reef is a great partnership of our two Baltimore institutions,” shared Heidi Daniel, CEO and president of Enoch Pratt Free Library. “Children can come to the library and learn about our oceans and conservation. Then, they can see those lessons in action at a world-class institution right down the street and share it with their families. This program is a big win for Baltimore.”



Header Image: Installation view of a work by Beatriz Milhazes in The Sky's the Limit at the National Museum of Women in the Arts; Photo by Jennifer Hughes

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